Friday, 18 February 2011

So I believe I've mentioned that I would write about my apartment last year after my contract's ended? Well, it's ended and I've had my bond returned, so I'm free now!

So here goes. I foolishly signed the lease without first inspecting the place, and I was actually shocked when I entered the place, because it was so different than what I saw in the website. Here's the pictures from the website at the time before I moved in (therefore, the pictures that gave me an impression of the place I was moving into):

And here is what I saw when I moved in. I painstakingly tried taking the pictures from the same angle.

Big difference, no?

Anyway, the place was much dirtier and messier than I expected. And there wasn't any heating, which was actually supposed to be provided (I even printed out the page where they said it is provided, but the property manager then denied that they provide heaters).

Basically, the property manager at that time was someone whose label would rhyme with hitch. She was very unhelpful, and from conversations with other tenants, I came to realise that she was someone who did not take her work seriously.

Then, in a mere weeks, the property manager was presumably fired (supposedly because of a tribunal case brought on by a friend of mine). So the next property manager was chosen from the ranks of the lower ranked employees. 

At the beginning, this property manager was not much different from her predecessor. When I needed keys to the MDF box for my Internet connection, she refused to hand it to me, insisting that I had to get the Internet company to give me an exact time, and she will meet me there. But the Internet company said they can't give an exact time, and that I'll have to change the mind of my property manager. After pleading with her, begging her to help me, she caved in.

But when I returned the keys, the other lady told me that the PM (property manager) said I was late in returning, although the email from the PM was a different story. As my appointment was on Wednesday (for the Internet connection), anytime between 8am to 6pm, she said I was to collect the keys Tuesday after 5pm and return it Thursday before 9am. But that lady said that I was supposed to return it on Wednesday. So you see, not only were they incompetent, they were also extremely forgetful and apparently don't know the days of the week, too.

You can imagine how I must have felt, being treated like a dumb illegal immigrant who doesn't speak English and doesn't keep my word, when the so called 'educated' Australian was the one who can't tell the difference between Wednesday and Thursday.

Then once, she even made the mistake of assigning someone my apartment. That Chinese couple had rented an entire 2 bedroom apartment, but yet, was given my unit. And the PM did not explain it to me, and I only got the explanation from the Chinese couple.

That first few months there was really a roller coaster ride. Sometimes when there is no interaction I would be fine, but then there are instances like these in which their incompetence can be seen like peering through glass that would make my blood boil. I was beyond pissed at times.

At one point, I calmed down, and decided to take action. I was very prepared to go campaign to have them removed from the university's rental database, but as I was under contract I was afraid of repercussions. I also really wanted to post it here, but once again I feared that I might suffer consequences. So I took my high school English teacher's advice: don't get mad, get even. I decided to keep a journal of everything that they did that was not up to par, and I would lie low, bidding my time. Once my contract's over, it's no holds barred.

But this is a very watered down version of my experiences. I decided not to pursue my plan of revenge for one reason (besides the fact that a long time has passed since)- the new PM.

Slowly as she got to know her job, she became better at it. No doubt, at the beginning she was horrible- but then she started picking it up. She gave notices which told us tenants when to put out the trash, the fines for not keeping our trash bins, not triggering the alarm, etc. I actually felt that she did a good job. And not to mention, she was nothing but nice ever since. All her calls are polite, and was never rude since.

When I was leaving, she did everything nicely, wasn't rude, conducted the inspection quickly and returned my full bond money. I felt that it was unfair to label them as incompetent considering how good a job she's done.

I wouldn't say that I recommend students to choose that apartment to live in as it is quite pricey, and that it has a bad reputation- when I tell people I lived in this place, their reaction would be 'Oh gosh. I pity you' or something along that line. But I do think it's improving.

And there you have it. It may not be as crazy as it sounds or as bad as it sounds, but like I said, I've watered it down. It really was a horrifying experience. I mean, would you expect to receive this treatment in a 'developed' country? I think not.
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